Kristen Bell On 'Bad Moms': 'It Was The Funniest Script I Had Ever Read' | KUOW News and Information

Kristen Bell On 'Bad Moms': 'It Was The Funniest Script I Had Ever Read'

Jul 30, 2016

Bad Moms is a movie about good moms who try to go bad. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn play suburban Chicago mothers who find themselves ground down by the daily cycle of school drop-offs and pick-ups, soccer games, supermarket runs, errands, chores and endless worries. One night they wind up at the same bar after a PTA meeting and together they decide to let loose.

Bell tells NPR's Scott Simon that the film spoke to her own experience as a mother: "When you have a baby, everything in your DNA says, 'I gotta do this right.' But what should go hand-in-hand in that — and doesn't often, or it's not reiterated enough to women — is that 'and it's OK if I don't, because I'm trying and that's all that matters.' "


Interview Highlights

On what drew her to the film

It was the funniest script I had ever read. And I realize I am the demographic, because I was going through a lot of those things, and still am, when I read it. ... I have a 3-year-old and a 1 ½- year-old. And it just was such an accurate depiction of what moms feel like. It's so brilliant that this script was written by two guys [Jon Lucas and Scott Moore] because you just can't imagine that two guys could actually write something this true to life. But they wrote it as a love letter to their overworked wives and they kept such an open mind throughout the whole process. They just nailed it — even women's locker room talk, because the movie is quite raunchy at times. ... It's a modern, realistic portrayal of what moms go through.

On one racy scene about circumcision, which was inspired by a true story

Jon and Scott interviewed so many women to get stories about: What's your most embarrassing moment? What scares you about dating again? What do you hate most about your kids? What do you love most about your kids?

It's funny, I know who [the circumcision] story came from. ... In the scene, Mila Kunis' character is going to go out on a date again, and she's only ever been with her husband. And she's talking to my character and Kathryn Hahn's character. Kathryn Hahn's character is very sexually experienced and Mila Kunis says, "What if I meet an uncircumcised man? I've only ever been with my husband." And Kathryn Hahn describes how it differs from a circumcised man.

It's a very, very funny scene but it's also pretty realistic. I mean, you know about locker room conversation with guys but you don't ever hear about it with women. And that's a bit of a fib. It's a bit of a white lie to keep us in this very pristine ladylike box, because we talk about that stuff. Maybe not as often and maybe not as graphically as in this movie, but it does happen and women are sexual beings as well. And so I really appreciated that they really went there with letting these two characters give advice to Mila Kunis about her upcoming sexual experience.

On a particularly poignant line from her character: "You don't know if you've done a good job until your kid is grown and then it's too late."

That rang true to me as well, because the reason you want to do such as good job is because when you have a baby I feel like you realize everybody — even people that have done awful things in their life — they were brought home from the hospital at one point and celebrated. And it just changes your perspective a little bit to realize the experiences you have shape who you are. Of course, it can be hereditary or in your DNA. But a lot of it is nurture, and you want to create an individual that thrives. And you try to give them, I guess, self-esteem lessons to not let the world shatter them. Because it's a big crazy world and you really don't know if you've done a good job until they're older and it's too late.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Bad Moms" is a movie about good moms who really try to go bad. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn are suburban Chicago mothers who find themselves ground down by the ceaseless daily cycle of school drop-offs and pick-ups, soccer games, supermarket runs, errands, chores and endless worries. One night, they wind up at the same bar after a PTA meeting, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BAD MOMS")

KRISTEN BELL: (As Kiki) Sometimes when I'm driving all by myself, I have this fantasy that I get into a car crash. Not a big one with fire and explosions, but just, like, a little one, but I do get injured. And I get to go to the hospital for two weeks, and I sleep all day and I eat Jell-O and I watch so much TV, and it's all covered by my insurance. My kids bring me balloons, and the nurses rub cream on my feet and oh, my God, it's so amazing. Is that, like, something you guys fantasize about too?

MILA KUNIS: (As Amy) No.

KATHRYN HAHN: (As Carla) No.

SIMON: Kristen Bell. The film is directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. And Kristin Bell, who's also been the voice of Anna in "Frozen," the original Veronica Mars, teen detective and on Broadway in "The Crucible" and other shows, joins us from Los Angeles. Thanks so much for being with us.

BELL: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: What made you want to play an overwhelmed mother?

BELL: Oh, well, it was the funniest script I had ever read. And I realize I am the demographic because I was going through a lot of those things and still am when I read it.

SIMON: You have two children, right?

BELL: I do. I have a 3-year-old and a 1-and-a-half-year-old, and it just was such an accurate depiction of what moms feel like. It's so brilliant that this script was written by two guys because you just can't imagine that two guys could actually write something this true to life. But they wrote it as a love letter to their overworked wives, and they just nailed it, even women's locker room talk 'cause the movie is quite raunchy at times.

SIMON: Yes, I - in one of my questions, I had actually sketched out racy, but I'll go with your raunchy, yeah.

BELL: Yeah, they just didn't make it saccharine at all. It's a modern, realistic portrayal of what moms go through 'cause when you have a baby, everything in your DNA says, I've got to do this right. But what should go hand in hand in that and doesn't often, or it's not reiterated enough to women, is that and it's OK if I don't because I'm trying and that's all that matters.

SIMON: Well, let me ask you about some of those raunchy, racy scenes. At the same time, I'm, without getting graphic, I'm thinking of the sweat jacket scene in particular.

BELL: Oh, sure.

SIMON: Those are really true to life, I gather, and they're written by men, those scenes.

BELL: Yeah, but they were inspired by women. Jon and Scott interviewed so many women to get stories about what's your most embarrassing moment? What scares you about dating again? What do you hate most about your kids? What do you love most about your kids? Is it kosher if I describe the scene? Is that...

SIMON: Yeah, yeah, go ahead, sure.

BELL: OK, so in the scene, Mila Kunis's character is going to go out on a date again, and she's only ever been with her husband. And she's talking to my character and Kathryn Hahn's character. Kathryn Hahn's character is very sexually experienced, and Mila Kunis says what if I meet an uncircumcised man? I've only ever been with my husband. And Kathryn Hahn describes how it differs from a circumcised man.

It's a very, very funny scene, but it's also pretty realistic. I mean, you know about locker room conversation with guys, but you don't ever hear about it with women. And that's a bit of a fib. It's a bit of a white lie to keep us in this very pristine ladylike box because we talk about that stuff. And so I really appreciated that they really went there.

SIMON: Your character in this comedy - and it is a comedy - utters a line that I got to tell you just stopped my heart. It's where your character says you don't know - speaking about children - you don't know if you've done a good job until your kid is grown and then it's too late.

BELL: Oh, yeah, that rang true to me as well because the reason you want to do such a good job is because when you have a baby, I feel like you realize everybody, even people that have done awful things in their life, they were brought home from the hospital at one point and celebrated. And it just changes your perspective a little bit to realize the experiences you have shape who you are.

Of course, it can be hereditary or in your DNA, but a lot of it is nurture, and you want to create an individual that thrives. And you try to give them, I guess, self-esteem lessons to not let the world shatter them because it's a big crazy world, and you really don't know if you've done a good job until they're older and it's too late.

SIMON: I feel like I should ask you if - do you want to build a snowman?

BELL: (Laughter) Always.

SIMON: (Laughter).

BELL: Always.

SIMON: Kristen Bell. She stars with Kathryn Hahn and Mila Kunis in "Bad Moms." Thanks so much for being with us.

BELL: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.